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Luxuria takes up transsex rights
Transgender MP calls for Gender Recognition Act
(ANSA) - Rome, November 7 - Europe's first transgender MP vowed on Tuesday to fight for a law giving Italian transsexuals the right to legally change their recorded gender .
Vladimir Luxuria, an MP with Premier Romano Prodi's centre-left governing coalition, said in a magazine interview that she would lobby for legislation along the lines of Britain's Gender Recognition Act .
"If a Mario decides to become a Maria, then he should be free to do so and every reference to his original gender must automatically disappear from his documents," the 41-year-old former drag queen told women's weekly Grazia .
The Gender Recognition Act, passed by Britain in 2004, gives legal recognition to transsexuals, allowing them to change the gender on their birth certificates and marry and claim pensions in their acquired sex .
It does not require applicants to have undergone sex-change surgery .
Luxuria, who has not had a sex-change operation, said this last point was particularly important .
"Changing one's sex from male to female or vice versa must be allowed independently of whether one has had an operation or not," the leftist lawmaker said .
Luxuria, who was born Wladimiro Guadagno, considers herself neither male nor female but prefers to be referred to as 'she' .
"I've never hated my body. I've never had female hormone therapy to become more feminine and I've never thought about having an operation," Luxuria told Grazia .
"Being transgender isn't about sex. It's about a way of living and relating to the world without identifying with one sex or the other," added the MP, who was elected to parliament in April with the Communist Refoundation Party .
Last month Luxuria made front-page headlines after clashing with a female MP in a toilet row .
The storm erupted when Elisabetta Gardini, the spokeswoman for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, challenged Luxuria's right to use the House's female toilets. Gardini, a former showgirl, said she felt "raped" after encountering Luxuria in the restrooms and brought the issue up with House whips .
Luxuria told Grazia that "I'd been using the female loos for six months and nobody protested... They're cleaner than the male ones and I think there would be more problems if I used the men's". Luxuria's election was seen as a breakthrough for gay rights' campaigners .
Known for her intelligence and wit, supporters look to Luxuria to help overcome alleged lingering prejudice against homosexuals in traditionally Catholic Italy and boost their battle for the rights of same-sex couples .
Luxuria, whose party is the third-largest in Prodi's governing coalition, has promised to campaign for the legal recognition of such unions .
The MP has stopped short of fighting for recognition of gay marriages, saying that "Italy isn't ready for that yet" .
Prodi pledged in his election manifesto to give cohabiting couples, including same-sex ones, administrative and financial rights but must overcome opposition from centrist, Catholic allies .
Equal Opportunities Minister Barbara Pollastrini said on Tuesday that she would take up action on the issue. "We want a wise, balanced and widely accepted solution," she said .
The New York Times
November 7, 2006
New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice
By DAMIEN CAVE
Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.
Under the rule being considered by the city’s Board of Health, which is likely to be adopted soon, people born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional laying out why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that their proposed change would be permanent.
Applicants would have to have changed their name and shown that they had lived in their adopted gender for at least two years, but there would be no explicit medical requirements.
“Surgery versus nonsurgery can be arbitrary,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner. “Somebody with a beard may have had breast-implant surgery. It’s the permanence of the transition that matters most.”
If approved, the new rule would put New York at the forefront of efforts to redefine gender. A handful of states do not require surgery for such birth certificate changes, but in some of those cases patients are still not allowed to make the change without showing a physiological shift to the opposite gender.
In New York, the proposed change comes after four years of discussion among health officials, an eight-member panel of transgender experts and vital records offices nationwide. It is an outgrowth of the transgender community’s push to recognize that some people may not have money to get a sex-change operation, while others may not feel the need to undergo the procedure and are simply defining themselves as members of the opposite sex. While it may be a radical notion elsewhere, New York City has often tolerated such blurring of the lines of gender identity.
And the proposal reflects how the transgender movement has become politically potent beyond its small numbers, having roots in the muscular politics of the city’s gay rights movement.
Transgender advocates consider the New York proposal an overdue bulwark against discrimination that recognizes an emerging shift away from viewing gender as simply the sum of one’s physical parts. But some psychiatrists and doctors are skeptical of the move, saying sexual self-definition should stop at rewriting medical history.
“They should not change the sex at birth, which is a factual record,” said Dr. Arthur Zitrin, a Midtown psychiatrist who was on the panel of transgender experts convened by the city. “If they wanted to change the gender for all the compelling reasons that they’ve given, it should be done perhaps with an asterisk.”
The change would lead to many intriguing questions: For example, would a man who becomes a woman be able to marry another man? (Probably.) Would an adoption agency be able to uncover the original sex of a proposed parent? (Not without a court order.) Would a woman who becomes a man be able to fight in combat, or play in the National Football League? (These areas have yet to be explored.)
The Board of Health, which weighs recommendations drafted by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is scheduled to vote on the proposal in December, and officials say they expect it to be adopted.
At the final public hearing for the birth certificate proposal last week, a string of advocates and transsexuals suggested that common definitions of gender, especially its reliance on medical assessments, should be abandoned. They generally praised the city for revisiting its 25-year-old policy that lets people remove the sex designation from their birth certificate if they have had sexual reassignment surgery. Then they demanded more freedom to choose.
Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said transgender people should not have to rely on affidavits from a health care system that tends to be biased against them. He said that many transgender people cannot afford sex-change surgery or therapy, and often do not consider it necessary.
Another person who testified, Mariah Lopez, 21, said she wanted a new birth certificate to prevent confusion, and to keep teachers, police officers and other authority figures from embarrassing her in public or accusing her of identity theft.
A few weeks ago, at a welfare office in Queens, Ms. Lopez said she included a note with her application for public assistance asking that she be referred to as Ms. when her turn for an interview came up. It did not work. The woman handling her case repeatedly addressed her as Mister.
“The thing is, I don’t even remember what it’s like to be a boy,” Ms. Lopez said, adding that she received a diagnosis of transgender identity disorder at age 6. She asked to be identified as a woman for this article.
The eight experts who addressed the birth certificate issue strongly recommended that the change be made, for the practical reasons Ms. Lopez identified. For public health studies, people who have changed their gender would be counted according to their sex at birth.
But some psychiatrists said that eliminating identification difficulties for some transgender people also opened the door to unwelcome advances from imposters.
“I’ve already heard of a ‘transgendered’ man who claimed at work to be ‘a woman in a man’s body but a lesbian’ and who had to be expelled from the ladies’ restroom because he was propositioning women there,” Dr. Paul McHugh, a member of the President’s Council of Bioethics and chairman of the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins University, wrote in an e-mail message on the subject. “He saw this as a great injustice in that his behavior was justified in his mind by the idea that the categories he claimed for himself were all ‘official’ and had legal rights attached to them.”
The move to ease the requirements for altering one’s gender identity comes after New York has adopted other measures aimed at blurring the lines of gender identification. For instance, a new shelter policy approved in January now allows beds to be distributed according to appearance, applying equally to postoperative transsexuals, cross-dressers and “persons perceived to be androgynous.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also agreed last month to let people define their own gender when deciding whether to use the men’s or women’s bathrooms.
Joann Prinzivalli, 52, a lawyer for the New York Transgender Rights Organization, a man who has lived as a woman since 2000, without surgery, said the changes amount to progress, a move away from American culture’s misguided fixation on genitals as the basis for one’s gender identity.
“It’s based on an arbitrary distinction that says there are two and only two sexes,” she said. “In reality the diversity of nature is such that there are more than just two, and people who seem to belong to one of the designated sexes may really belong to the other.”
（時事通信） - 11月8日9時0分更新
Last Updated: Saturday, 28 October 2006, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Transgender MP in toilet fracas
An Italian opposition MP and former showgirl has expressed outrage after meeting a transgender colleague in the parliament's ladies' toilets.
Elisabetta Gardini, spokeswoman for former PM Silvio Berlusconi's party, said she felt ill after the encounter during a break in Friday's session.
The incident led to heated debate about which toilet the transgender MP, known as Vladimir Luxuria, could use.
Ms Luxuria says she has been using ladies' toilets for years.
Using the men's would have created even bigger problems, she said.
The matter has now been passed to parliamentary procedural officials to resolve.
Ms Gardini said she had been horrified to find Ms Luxuria in the toilets.
"It never entered my mind that I'd find him in there", she said. "It felt like sexual violence - I really felt ill."
Centre-right MPs backed her call for the creation of a third "transgender" toilet, Reuters news agency said.
But ruling coalition deputies accused Ms Gardini of discrimination tantamount to racism.
Ms Luxuria said she had not expected such aggression in the parliament.
Born Wladimiro Guadagno, Ms Luxuria wears women's clothes but has not had sex-change surgery.
A 40-year-old former drag queen and prominent gay rights activist, she was elected MP for the Communist Refoundation, a member of Prime Minister Romano Prodi's centre-left coalition, in April.
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７ 訴訟費用 被告人Ａにつき，刑事訴訟法１８１条１項ただし書（負担させ
Colo. worker wins transgender bias case
By JON SARCHE, Associated Press Writer
Fri Sep 15, 12:14 AM ET
A woman who was fired while preparing to undergo sex-change surgery was let go in violation of state anti-discrimination law, the head of Colorado's civil rights agency has ruled.
Advocates praised the ruling, saying it was the first of its kind in Colorado and a sign that society has begun to better understand transgender people.
Danielle Cornwell, 54, claimed in a complaint filed in April with the Civil Rights Division that she was fired in July 2005 because she was a woman and because she had recently told the company she planned to undergo gender-reassignment surgery.
Originally known as David Michael Cornwell, she had realized while working for Intermountain Testing Co. that she was a transgender woman, according to the ruling. She began assuming a feminine appearance, and also told her employer she planned to change her name and dress in women's clothing.
The company, which uses X-rays and other methods to test materials for the construction and manufacturing industries, argued Cornwell was fired because of a decline in business and because she had a low performance rating.
In his Aug. 21 decision, Civil Rights Division Director Wendell Pryor agreed Cornwell was fired because she was a woman said the evidence did not support the company's claims. He said no other employees doing similar work were fired.
"Given this, it appears that the (company's) decision to discharge (Cornwell) was based on her gender — female," Pryor wrote.
Intermountain Testing President Gary Bollerud did not return a call. His attorney, John Husband, declined to comment.
The ruling means Cornwell and representatives of her former employer will meet in October to try to agree on a resolution, her attorney, John Hummel, said Thursday. Cornwell said she would not seek her job back. Hummel said such cases typically are resolved with a cash settlement.
"The well's been poisoned," Cornwell said.
Hummel, who works for the Legal Initiatives Project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of Colorado, said it was gratifying that the agency did not find the case controversial.
"Maybe that's a sign of progress in society in beginning to understand transgender people more than they had before," he said.
On the Net:
Civil Rights Division: http://www.dora.state.co.us/civil-rights
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center: http://www.glbtcolorado.org
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / LAT)
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times)
Still Proud, but Seeking More Gaiety
Some in West Hollywood have grown tired of the same old drag queens and leather-clad bikers in their annual parade. A monthlong event is floated.
By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 13, 2006
Forget the bikini-clad musclemen waving from floats gaily draped in rainbow colors. Never mind the burly guys bouncing down the street in frilly pompom-girl costumes and flouncy wigs or the tight leather shorts worn by the beefcake bikers.
West Hollywood's annual gay pride parade needs to be seriously beefed up.
That's the conclusion of community and civic leaders who grumble that the 35-year-old salute to gay rights has become predictable and dull — dare we say it? — more boring than bold.
The sight of painted drag queens strutting down Santa Monica Boulevard in sequined gowns held up by basketball-stuffed brassieres might have been jaw-dropping three decades ago.
But no more.
"Our parade is pretty lame. This being the entertainment capital you'd think there'd be more creativity," said Jimmy Wood, a 38-year-old West Hollywood realty agent who has attended the parade for years and says the floats seem to be the same every year. "I like the drag queens and all the other usual suspects. But they need to get the studios involved. Our parade is pretty weak in production value."
The parade's organizers hoped to boost the event last year by making headline-grabbing celebrity socialite Paris Hilton co-grand marshal of the parade with her mother, Kathy Hilton. But the move left some parade regulars rolling their eyes — and helped prompt city leaders to get involved.
The City Council convened a special task force made up of marketing and financial experts as well as gay rights activists to study the parade. They have concluded it needs more of a head transplant than a mere facial makeover.
"People like the parade and festival, but they want to know what's new. They want the latest, hippest and coolest," said West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman. "But how do we win over some of the people who say, 'Oh, I did that five years ago?' How do we make it appealing to somebody who went to gay pride 20 years ago and doesn't have any compelling reason at this point to come back?"
The panel suggests that if the 2-square-mile city nestled between Hollywood and Beverly Hills is to maintain its reputation as Southern California's most vibrant gay enclave, it needs to both liven up and expand the gay pride celebration.
Instead of only a weekend event, there should be a monthlong series of arts, film, cultural and social activities "that celebrate the creativity" of not just West Hollywood but all of Los Angeles, the task force decided.
Professionals need to be put in charge of the marketing and promotion of the new "Pride Month," according to the recommendation.
And the city itself needs to coordinate the renewed festival — which should include the creation and enforcement of "higher standards for participation in the parade."
Leaders of the nonprofit Christopher Street West Assn., which organizes the event, say they support the changes and have some of their own in mind, including larger floats and perhaps allowing parade-goers to participate in the march.
Named for a drag-queen-led gay liberation "rebellion" staged at the Stonewall Inn bar on New York City's Christopher Street in 1969, the group has organized and run the parade since 1970. Its president, Rodney Scott, steadfastly defends the event's track record.
"I don't think it's broken," he said of the parade. "What the City Council is saying and we're saying is, 'How do you take it to the next level?' How do we reach more people with our message? It's not about stuffing more people along the parade route. It's about reaching people."
Scott, 41, defended Paris Hilton's role in the 2005 gay pride parade, although he admits it remains controversial.
Some in West Hollywood question what qualified Hilton to be the grand marshal of an event that celebrates gay rights.
"Paris Hilton became a lightning rod for some people who asked how we could select someone like that," Scott said. "People had the impression she wasn't a good role model for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
"We never said she was a role model," he added. "We knew her participation in the parade would bring visibility. And she did."
As they begin to tinker with the parade, Scott said it's crucial that officials don't "sanitize or censure to diminish people's creativity or the individualism of our community."
The gay pride parade draws about 300,000 people a year and is one of two big annual gay-themed events in the city. The other is the Halloween carnival and celebration.
While city leaders say the parade is losing steam, they've received complaints that the Halloween celebration is getting too wild. It attracts upward of 400,000 participants and onlookers.
Now the city plans to discuss tweaks to that event as well.
But West Hollywood leaders should tread carefully, said resident Ken Sapp Jr., a 36-year-old cameraman intern.
"No disrespect to straight people, but Halloween is like Christmas for us."
Published: 09/02/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)
A sex change operation
By Mariam Al Hakeem, Gulf News Correspondent
Makkah: Riyadh Reem never felt much like a girl when she was growing up. In fact, from the beginning Reem said she felt more like a boy.
"This feeling started growing with me, making me reject any gift that reminded me of being a girl. Throughout my 29 years, I never played with dolls. Instead I used to play football with my brothers and boys in the narrow lanes of our congested district," Reem told Gulf News.
After medical tests confirmed that she had more male hormones than female ones, Reem began the long and arduous process of becoming a man and taking the name Khalid.
Born in Makkah, Reem studied at Saudi girl's schools from kindergarten through high school, travelling south to Yemen for college.
"I didn't want to be a girl, to do girls things and wear girl's dresses, and this caused a lot of psychological trauma. I wanted to erase all my girlish qualities from my mind and memory," she said.
"I used to show great resistance to wearing the abaya, especially when I was promoted to first year intermediate, a stage where all girls should wear the abaya to cover their bodies from head to toe."
Reem said other children noticed she was different early on as well.
"My classmates used to make fun of me and tease me by calling me 'girl-boy' because I displayed masculine manners and qualities.
"All these years I had been living with a terrible psychological conflict because of my inclination towards the world of men. I had never thought any day that I was a girl," she said.
In fact, Reem said she kept aloof from girls and women and never liked socialising with women because of her masculine voice and structure of her body.
As a teenager, her body began developing a "woman's features". Reem also had to shave her face when she went to college, in part to hide her masculine features.
All this made Reem conclude that she really should have been a man.
Upon completing her university education in Yemen, Reem returned to the Kingdom and visited several doctors, all of whom confirmed she has more male hormones.
They recommended that her breasts be surgically removed. However, the doctors also said that there was a problem performing a complete sex change operation in Saudi Arabia.
However, fate intervened to help Reem to become Khalid right here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
"One day, I got sick and accidentally visited a doctor at Baksh Hospital in Jeddah who assured me it was possible to conduct a sex change operation here. He referred me to a plastic surgeon who successfully operated on me.
"I could not believe my eyes that I was able to leave the hospital wearing thobe and shemakh and carrying my new name Khalid," the 29-year-old new man said.
Man gets 11 years in transgender death
Fri Aug 25, 9:51 PM ET
A 23-year-old man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the killing of a transgender teen was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday.
Jaron Nabors, of Newark, Calif., pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter early in the case. He admitted to aiding and abetting Gwen Araujo's murder and showed authorities where the teen's body was buried.
"There's nothing that can be done that will take away from the immense pain of the family of the victim, but Jaron did the best he could after he had participated in this horrible event," Nabors' attorney Annie Beles said after the hearing.
Araujo, 17, was beaten, tied up and strangled on Oct. 4, 2002, after men she had sexual encounters with learned she was biologically male, according to authorities.
Araujo was born a boy named Edward but grew up to believe her true identity was female.
Two men were sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the slaying. A fourth man pleaded no contest to manslaughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Transsexual rights activist ordered to leave the country
By Marie Woolf, Political Editor
Published: 20 August 2006
A transsexual business executive claiming damages of £500,000 for discrimination at work has been ordered to leave the country by the Home Office.
Jessica Bussert, 41, has been told her work permit is no longer valid and she must return to the United States this week.
The senior IT consultant has claimed damages from Hitachi Data Systems at an employment tribunal for discrimination in what could prove a test case for transsexuals everywhere. But after she filed a claim for constructive dismissal she received a letter from the Home Office saying her work permit was no longer valid and she had 28 days to leave the country.
Ms Bussert, who claims she was "demoted" at work after having facial feminisation and breast surgery, believes her legal right to have her grievance heard in a tribunal has been flouted.
Her case has been taken up by transsexual rights groups and MPs who say her treatment is "outrageous."
Christine Burns, of Press for Change, said: "Jessica came to the UK expecting fairer treatment than in the USA. Instead it seems she faced discrimination the moment her transsexual status was known. Now, as a nation, we're adding insult to injury by booting her out before she can obtain redress. It's outrageous - but wholly in keeping with a government that continues to drag its heels to finish levelling the field for us."
The immigration minister, Liam Byrne, has been contacted by MPs asking for Ms Bussert to be allowed to stay in the country until her case has been heard by the tribunal, which will begin in November.
Ms Bussert, whose wife Sharon will also have to leave the country this week, said she would continue to fight her case and would fly back to Britain from Indiana.
Said Ms Bussert: "I expected a bit more from this great nation. Sharon and I had hoped to make England our long-term home. We left the US to seek the tolerance and protections offered by British society. After all of this, it makes you wonder just how tolerant the Home Office really is."